|UFC 128 Picks & Predictions: Mauricio “Shogun" Rua vs. Jon Jones|
|Written by Drew Sharper|
|Saturday, 19 March 2011 13:00|
Shogun vs. Jones Free Pick
Jones enters the fight as the favorite to win the title according to oddsmakers from online sportsbook Bodog.com with betting odds of -200 while Shogun comes in with odds of +160. UFC 128 takes place from Prudential Center and will air live on Pay-Per-View at 10PM ET.
WHY PICK SHOGUN
Shogun (19-4) is the champion for a reason as he is the only fighter that was able to dominate Lyoto Machida as he took the title last May. His aggressive style has led to 16 KO’s in his career with just three decisions in 23 fights. He has only been stopped three times in his career and none of those have been from a knockout. Shogun has great power in his punches and kicks and a solid ground game. Also, Jones is on the biggest stage in the biggest fight of his life at just 23-years of age. That is a lot of pressure for the young fighter to handle. Rua is also clearly the toughest opponent of his career and a big step up in talent from what he has faced.
WHY PICK JONES
Jones (12-1) is one of those unique fighters that you know is different than everyone else in terms of skills. Is combination of wrestling and muay thai striking has allowed him to run through everyone he has faced, as his lone loss came on a DQ for throwing an illegal elbow when he was dominating Matt Hamill. Jones showed tremendous ground and submission skills in his win over Ryan Bader at UFC 126. Jones is just taking this fight on six-weeks notice, but was just off of a fight at the time, so his conditioning should be fine. Shogun has been off for about 10 months recovering from a knee injury, which could affect his conditioning and play a factor in his performance.
WHO TO PICK?
I like Jones on paper as I think his wrestling ability will be the key to him winning but I am concerned with his mindset. A lot of times when fighters are on this unstoppable train of momentum, they struggle at the first sign of adversity, and Jones will likely face some in this bout. However, I think Jones will handle it well and be able to control Shogun on the ground before finishing him with ground and pound strikes in the third round.
UFC 128 FREE PICK: JON JONES -200